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Welcome to Fierce Conversations

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1 Welcome to Fierce Conversations
When you think of a fierce conversation, think passion, integrity, authenticity, collaboration. Think cultural transformation. Think leadership.

2 Your Ticket in the Door: Go Round
How might the right conversation help a school leader transform the culture of a school? Honesty, trust, and integrity are important

3 Today’s Outcomes What gets talked about in your school and how it gets talked about determines what will happen. At the end of the day, you will be familiar with four conversational models: Team conversations Coaching conversations Delegation conversations Confrontation conversations

4 Team Conversations Engage teams in frictionless debates that interrogate multiple, often competing realities, resulting in the best decisions for the school, enthusiastically implemented.

5 Coaching Conversations
Engage individuals in conversations that increase clarity, improve understanding and provide impetus for change – resulting in professional development, a bias for action and accelerated results.

6 Delegation Conversations
Clarify responsibilities and raise accountability, ensuring that each employee has a clear path of development, action plan are implemented, goals are achieved, and leaders are free to take on more complex responsibilities.

7 Confrontation Conversations
Engage individuals and teams in conversations which confront and resolve attitudinal, performance or behavioral issues, while also enriching relationships.

8 Definition and the Objectives
A Fierce Conversation is one in which we come out from behind ourselves, into the conversation and make it real. Interrogate reality: ask the questions Provoke learning: connections, the next level Tackle tough challenges: have it today!, most put it off or don’t have it Enrich relationships: how to do this while doing all of the above

9 How do you know when you are having a Fierce Conversation?
Speaking in your real voice Speaking to the heart of the matter Really asking and listening Generating heat Enriching a relationship Different when the conversation is over

10 Remember…. No remark is trivial.
And now….to the 3 transformational ideas.

11 Idea Number 1 Our careers, our schools, our personal relationships, and our very lives succeed or fail gradually, then suddenly, one conversation at a time. Take “but” out of the conversations and replace with “and.” Missing conversations are the worst.

12 “Mokita” -that which everyone knows and no one speaks of. The Papuans of New Guineas judge the health of any community by the number of “mokitas” that exist within it.

13 Names and Numbers of Mokitas
Work ___________ How much does each Mokita cost your school, your family, you? Personal/Family ___________ The rule: name our Mokitas; no repercussions.

14 One more thought… While no conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a school, a relationship, or a life – any conversation can.

15 Idea Number 2 The conversation is the relationship.
Quality conversation = quality relationship No conversation = no relationship Leadership is defined as your capacity to connect with people The most valuable currency any of us has is not money. Nor is it intelligence, attractiveness, self-sufficiency or charisma. It is relationship. It is emotional capital.

16 Idea Number 3 All conversations are with myself, and sometimes they involve other people. Attitudes, beliefs, opinions, truths are our filters We want to be understood, not interpreted. We let in the truth we want.

17 Seven Principles Master the courage to interrogate reality.
Come out from behind yourself, into the conversations, and make it real. Be here, prepared to be nowhere else. Tackle your toughest challenge today. Obey your instincts. Take responsibility for your emotional wake. Let silence do the heavy lifting.

18 Reflection Which principle will I focus on for the next 30 days?
My “apostrophe.”

19 Team Conversations ?s for team clarity
?s for breakthrough conversations Beach ball reality Issue preparation form The conversation During the conversation Your apostrophe

20 ?s for Team Clarity Where are we going? Why are we going there?
Who is going with us? How are we going to get there? If nothing changes, what are the implications? Would everyone on your team answer these ?s the same way? How would you answer them?

21 ?s for Breakthrough Conversations
What values do we stand for, and are there gaps between these values and how we actually behave? What are the skills and talents of our school and are there gaps between those resources and what market demands? What opportunities does the future hold, and are there gaps between those opportunities and our ability to capitalize on them? What is impossible for us do that, if it were possible, would change everything? What are we pretending not to know?

22 Beach Ball Reality Does each team member feel free to express his or thoughts and emotions? Does each team members feel free to interrogate another team member’s view of reality? Does each team member engage other team members openly, without being defensive, when his/her view of reality is being interrogated? Does each team member strive to describe reality without laying blame? Do your team conversations always get to ground truths? Think QBQ: the question behind the question.

23 Having a Beach Ball Conversation
A beach ball conversation is essential when you have: A high stakes decision to make A strategy to design An opportunity to evaluate A problem to solve

24 Next… Select a significant or recurring problem you wish to solve:
The problem is: I will invite to this conversation: (who is doing the impacting, who is compacted, resisters, people who are credible, experts) Prior to this conversation, I will send out: (what will others need to review?) In the invitation, let everyone know: The problem to be discussed. Its significance. Your desire to understand their perspectives about how to solve it.

25 Issue Preparation Form
The issue is: It’s significant because: My ideal outcome is: Relevant background information: What I have done up to this point: Options I am considering: The help I want from the group is:

26 A Few Hints… Walk through first, then give to the team. Be honest.
Don’t use “but” or “however.” Hear from everyone.” Use a beach ball if you like. Say something like: “We’re here to solve the problem of…My goal is to make the best possible decision.” “My view is based on my position on the beach ball.” “Push back on anything I say that doesn’t match your view of reality. That’s how you add value to this conversation.”

27 After the Conversation…
Ask each team member to write down a concise answer to this question: “What would you do if you were in my shoes?” Have each person read his/her advice. Do no respond; only say “thank you.” Then ask, “Did I miss anything essential” Thank them, tell them what action you are prepared to take, and when you will take it. Ask them to sign their recommendations in case you want to follow up. Get back to them once you have made the decision or take action and let them know the results and/or next steps.

28 Practice: Team Conversation
Individually complete the Issue Preparation Form One whole group conversation Pair with a colleague Reflect

29 Reflection and Apostrophe
How might a team conversation improve your results, the results of your team, and the results of the whole school? How might you use a team conversation in the future? Your apostrophe?

30 Coaching Conversations
The “to do” list SMART + HEART Coaching questions Mineral rights model: mining for greater clarity, improved understanding, and impetus for change Reflection and apostrophe

31 A Thought A careful conversation is a failed conversation because it merely postpones the conversation that wants and needs to take place.

32 The “to do” List In addition to achieving significant student achievement results, you have been asked to: Lead change Build collaborative community partnerships Delegate effectively Manage a budget Make the best decisions for the school Present and influence Manage complex issues and responsibilities

33 So….? Take a deep breath. Fierce believes the answers are in the room.
You’ve got plenty of “smarts” to pull it off

34 SMART + HEART Human beings make decisions first for emotional reasons, second for rational reasons. Coaching produces disappointing results because, though our heads are engaged, we checked our emotions at the door. There is no fuel for the lit match to ignite. Great leaders, great coaches, great colleagues engineer epiphanies by engaging people’s heads and hearts. IQ and EQ

35 Coaching Questions: Fuel for the Conversations
What is the most important decision you are facing? What is keeping you from making it? What topic are you hoping I don’t bring up? What part of your responsibilities are you avoiding right now? What conversation are you avoiding right now? What do you wish you had more time to do?

36 More Coaching Questions
What things are you doing that you would like to stop doing and/or delegate to someone else? What threatens your peace? What threatens the school? Your personal health? Your fulfillment? Reminder: “Giving half answers won’t make the conversation half as long.”

37 Mineral Rights Model Seven steps: Identify the issue Clarify the issue
Determine current impact Determine future implications Examine personal contribution to the issue Describe the ideal outcome Commit to action

38 Step 1 Name the issue The issue I most need to resolve is …

39 Step 2 Clarify the issue What is going on?
How long has this been going on? How bad are things?

40 Step 3 Determine the current impact
How is this issue currently impacting me? What results is this situation currently producing for me? How is this issue currently impacting others? What results is this situation currently producing for them? When I consider the impact on myself and others, what are my emotions?

41 Step 4 Determine the future implications
If nothing changes, what’s likely to happen? What’s at stake for me to lose or gain relative to this issue? What’s at stake for other to lose or gain? When I consider these possible outcomes, what do I feel?

42 Step 5 Examine your personal contribution to this issue
How have I contributed to the problem”

43 Step 6 Describe the ideal outcome
When this issue is resolved, what difference will this make? What results will I enjoy? What results will others enjoy? When I imagine these results, what are my emotions?

44 Step 7 Commit to action What is the most potent step I could take to move this issue toward resolution? What’s going to attempt to get in my way, and how will I get past it? When will I take this step?

45 Reminders Steps 1-6, ask questions 80% of the time Tone is important
Step 1: leave out if they come to you Step 2: make an emotional connection Step 3: leave out and you’ll never get to action; people will connect their emotions here Step 4 creates urgency Step 5 wakes up their brain Step 6: watch for fears; don’t let become real Step 7: if there is no follow-up, actions become extinct

46 More Reminders Slow the conversation down so it can find out what it wants and needs to be about. Inquire about emotions. Fierce Conversations are both intellectually convincing and emotionally compelling. Let silence do the heavy lifting.

47 A Thought on Drilling If you are drilling for water, it is better to drill one, hundred-foot well than one hundred, one foot wells.

48 One More Thought on Conversations
“No one has to change and everyone has to have the conversation. When the conversation is real, the change occurs before the conversation has ended.” David Whyte

49 Practice: Coaching Conversation
Individually complete the Coaching Conversation Steps One whole group conversation Pair with a colleague Reflect

50 Reflection and Apostrophe
How might coaching conversations help to improve your results, the results of your team, and the results of your school? How might you use coaching conversations in the future? Your apostrophe?

51 Delegation Conversations
What if you had six months to teach everyone who reports to you to get along without you?

52 My Top 3 Time Eaters No. 1 _______________ _______________
What takes up the most time? How much time? How long have you been doing this activity?

53 The Decision Tree Model
Root decision: Made with input from many people. Trunk decision: Make the decision. Report your decision before you take action. Branch decision: Make the decision. Act on it. Report the action you took daily, weekly or monthly. Leaf decision: Make the decision. Act on it. Do not report the action you took.

54 The Decision Tree Model
Tool used for delegation, accountability and professional development. Direct outcomes of using a decision tree: Individual’s development path is clear Their progress is acknowledged Leaders are free to lead versus micro-manage.

55 Decision Tree Goals Goal 1: to clearly identify which categories various decisions and actions fall into, so that an individual knows exactly where he or she has the authority to make decisions and take action. Goal 2: to provide an employee with a clear upward path of professional development. Progress is made when decisions and actions are moved from root to trunk to branch to leaf categories.

56 Goals (continued) Goal 3: to assist schools in consciously developing leaders with the organization, freeing the superintendent to take on more challenging responsibilities themselves. Goal 4: To create a culture of accountability, so that everyone in the organization takes full responsibilities for his or her actions. “If your employees believe their job is to do what you tell them, you’re sunk.”

57 Doing It What would be the best use of my time?
What activity or responsibility is no longer the best use of me? To who would I like to give this responsibility? At what level? (leaf, branch, trunk) By when? How much of my time will this free up? What supports do I need to give?

58 Two Questions and Four “Ds”
How root bound am I? How can delegation not be a dumping ground? 4 “Ds” Delete it? Delegate it? (not as dumping) Delay it? (not done today, may not get done) Do it!

59 5 Things to Do The Rules Suggestions
Before you leave, write down 5 things you will accomplish the next day. It’s 5, not 3, not 6, not 12 Aim to accomplish all 5 by noon Don’t leave until you have completed those 5 things and written down 5 for the next day No cheating! Don’t go home until they’re done! Suggestions Have a “5 things buddy” to keep each other on track Use Post-It notes pad with room for 5 things and date on top

60 Gainers and Drainers Energy drainers list
Which one can you eliminate in the next 30 days? Energy gainers list Which one can you implement in the next 30 days?

61 Reminders Root level decisions are best determined following Beach Ball Conversations. Ask others to create a Decision Tree for themselves to be reviewed and approved by you. Tell people where they are free to play and raise the level of personal responsibility. We become more effective as grub-hunters versus mole-whackers. “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.” Annie Dillard

62 Practice: Delegation Conversation
Individually complete the Delegation Conversation form One whole group conversation Pair with a colleague Reflect

63 Reflection and Apostrophe
How might the delegation conversation help improve your results, the results of your team, and the results of the school? What would be the benefit of explaining the concept of the delegation conversation to each direct report and having them create a decision tree for themselves? Apostrophe?

64 Confrontation Conversations
We get what we tolerate. We will learn how to confront someone’s attitude or behavior and live to tell about it.

65 Some Thoughts…. If you don’t do the Beach Ball Conversation or Mineral Rights Conversation well, you won’t do the Confrontation Conversation well Typical actions Avoid Justify Develop new rule Memo to the world Tell everyone but ….

66 More Thoughts… Why we don’t confront
It’s just the way they are They’ll be hurt or cry They’re just that way It will get worse What happens if you don’t handle it? People leave People question your leadership

67 Helpful Hints Only have a Confrontational Conversation if there is a historical pattern. Never read it to the other person. Goal is to clarify. Do a one-minute practice in front of the mirror or with someone else

68 The Confrontation Model
Preparation Name the issue Select a specific example that illustrates the behavior or situation you want to change Describe the emotions around the issue Clarify why it is important – what is at stake to gain or lose for you, for others, for the teams, or for the organization Identify your contribution(s) to this problem Indicate your wish to resolve the issue Invite your partner to responds

69 1. Name the Issue “I want to talk with you about the effect … is having on ….”

70 2. Select a Specific Example
“For example, … No more than 3 Make no judgment or emotion

71 3. Describe your Emotions
“I feel….” “I was stunned…” “I am puzzled this is happening…” “I am troubled by …” Be careful about using the word “disappointed;” sounds too parental You have to connect to the emotion for it to happen No smiling; especially common for women

72 4. Clarify Why This Is Important
“From my perspective, the stakes are high. _________ is at stake. And most importantly, _________is at stake.” Losing highly valued employees. Culture of future projects.

73 5. Identify Your Contribution
“I recognize my fingerprints. I … should have brought this up sooner. didn’t give you the tools. should have given you clearer expectations. For this, I apologize” Model honest mistakes. If you can’t name it, have a coaching conversation to help you identify it.

74 6. Indicate Your Wish to Resolve
“I want to resolve this with you – (restate the issue).”

75 7. Invite Your Partner to Respond
“I sincerely want to understand your perspective. Talk to me.”

76 Model (continued) Interaction Inquire into your partner’s views
Use paraphrasing and perception check Dig for full understanding; don’t be satisfied on the surface Make sure your partner knows that you fully understand and acknowledge his/her position and interests

77 Model (continued) Resolution What was learned? Where are we now?
What is needed for resolution? What was left unsaid that needs saying? What is our new understanding? How can we move forward from here, given this new understanding? Make a new agreement and have a method to hold each other accountable.

78 Three Popular Tactics When people are confronted, most will attempt to justify their behavior to escape accountability by using these tactics: Deny It wasn’t me! It never happened! Defend It wasn’t my fault, it was because of….. Deflect It’s not about this, it’s about….

79 What to Do Be ready. Be polite. Don’t go there with them.
You may say, “I see this is not the time to have this conversation. Let’s set a time to…” If interrupted say, “Please give a minute to clarify the issue.”

80 Some Thoughts Healthy relationship include both confrontation and appreciation. Deliver the message without the load. After your opening statement, drop into Mineral Rights mode. A courageous, skillful confrontation is a gift, a vein of gold worth mining. There is something within us that responds deeply to those who level with us, who don’t suggest our compromises for us.

81 Practice: Confrontation Conversation
Individually complete your 60-second opening statement, interaction, and resolution One (or more) whole group conversation Pair with a colleague Reflect

82 Reflection and Apostrophe
How might the Confrontation Conversation help to improve your results, the results of your team, and the results of your school? How might you us the Confrontation Conversations in the future? Your apostrophe?

83 Fierce Factors Organizational tendencies
Interpretation of organizational tendencies Personal beliefs Interpretation of personal beliefs

84 Commitments Commitments
Today I will master the courage to interrogate reality. What reality at home or at work needs most interrogating? Today I will come out from behind myself into my conversations and make them real. I will speak of the things that are on my mind and in my heart, including those that seem risky or unattractive. Where and with whom am I failing to show authentically?

85 Commitments Today I will be here, prepared to be nowhere else.
Who would benefit from my undivided attention? Perhaps it is myself. Today I will tackle my toughest challenge. What conversation am I dodging? What issue am I avoiding? Today I will obey my instincts. I will take time to deliberate, and when the time to speak arrives, I will share what I am thinking. What messages have been beckoning me?

86 Commitments Today I will take responsibility for my emotional wake. Emotional wake is what you remember after I’m gone. What you feel after I’m gone. The aftermath, aftertaste, or afterglow. To whom do I need to apologize? Who deserves my praise? Today I will let silence do the heavy lifting. What beneficial results might occur if I said less, listened more, and provided silence in which to think about what has (and has not) been said?

87 Personal Action Plan Principle(s) I will focus on for the next 30 days
Conversations I need to have Name Topic Your top 5 goals Personal and professional 10 questions Personal integrity scan

88 Some Closing Thoughts When we spend a lifetime curbing our anger, our sadness, or our frustration for fear of offending others, in the process, we curb our joy. What if I can become a crucible – a strong, resilient vessel in which profound change could safely take place? Everything that matters in our intellectual and moral life begins with an individual confronting his own mind and conscience in a room by himself.

89 Closing Thoughts The most valuable thing any us can do is find a way to say the things that can’t be said.

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